Derived from the Greek word ‘astrologia,’ astrology is the combination of two Greek words – astron, meaning star; and logos, meaning study – and is simply known as the study of stars. The use of astrology to study the affect of the sun, moon, stars, and the planets, on the events on Earth has been prevalent for more than 5000 years. It is believed that astrology had its origins in the ancient traditions of Babylon and Mesopotamia, quite before 2000 BC. Their system of omens spread to Greece around 400 BC, and from there to Egypt, and the rest of the Middle East and India through Alexander’s conquests.
Traditions Of Astrology
Astrology has many traditions, some sharing features that are very similar due to the transfer of doctrines between ancient cultures. Some traditions have completely different doctrines, as they developed in isolation.
These traditions, though not exhaustive, are:
• Chinese astrology
• Kabbalistic astrology
• Jyotish or Vedic (Indian) astrology
• Tibetan astrology
• Babylonian astrology
• Mayan astrology
• Celtic astrology
• Modern Western astrology
Currently, the main traditions, which the modern astrologers follow are: Jyotish or Vedic astrology, Chinese astrology, and the Modern Western astrology.
The Indian astrology and the Modern Western astrology come from the same source as they follow the horoscopic systems of astrology. In both traditions, an astrological chart, also known as a horoscope, is cast. The horoscope is the representation of the celestial entities, such as the Sun, Moon, and known eight planets – that inluence every aspect of our lives.
The difference, however, between the two traditions is that the Indian system of astrology uses the sidereal zodiac – which links the signs of the zodiac to their original constellations, whereas the Western system of astrology uses the tropical zodiac – which divides the sky into twelve equal portions, starting from Aries.
The Chinese astrology has developed completely along different lines. In this tradition, the twelve signs of the zodiac divides the celestial equator, and not the sky. A similar tradition has existed in Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and other East Asian countries.
How Astrology Works
According to astrology, the position of the sun, the stars, the moon, and the planets at the time of birth, shape our personalities, influence our lives, and can predict our future.
The sun sign astrology – the type we get in our daily newspapers – is the most simple form of astrology. This system produces very limited results as all that is required is your date of birth. No serious practitioner of astrology would contemplate using this system.
Various theories exist for the practice of astrology. Among other things, for more accurate readings, astrolgers would need to know in what sign (the twelve constellations of the zodiac) was each planet at the time of your birth. An accurate horoscope, which is a profile of your future and that of your personality, is quite complex, and requires the knowledge of the position of the planets, the signs of the constellations, and other elements, for it to be cast.
Western astrology is popularly followed in the Western countries, whereas the Chinese, the Vedic, the Tibetan, and other eastern astrologies are followed in the Eastern cultures.